bhaktivedanta manor

George Harrison, Friar Park, photographed by Terry O’Neill

George Harrison: “There is one sort of problem in a way, that I found when chanting all the time, and that was that I start being able to relate less and less to all the people I know. I mean then it’s, there’s only times when I see people like Śyāmasundara or just a few people. Then, that’s okay, but most of the other people… I suddenly found myself on such a different level that it’s hard to relate and then it’s like it feels as though it’s a point where I have a decision of either slowing down and pulling back towards those people in order to try and pull them with me, or maybe if, because I’m not ready to go, or just cutting the thing off and just going completely. You know what I mean? Just in day to day things. The more and more, the buildup…”

Prabhupāda: “Material management.”

GH: “But the buildup of the mantra and the effect is so subtle in a way that there’s that point where I just can’t relate any more to anybody.  Maybe you don’t have that experience.”

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George ca. 1969

“Life is like a piece of string with a lot of knots tied in it. The knots are the karma you’re born with from all your past lives, and the object of human life is to try and undo all those knots. That’s what chanting and meditation in God consciousness can do. Otherwise you simply tie another ten knots each time you try to undo one knot. That’s how karma works. I mean, we’re now the results of our past actions, and in the future we’ll be the results of the actions we’re performing now. A little understanding of “As you sow, so shall you reap” is important, because then you can’t blame the condition you’re in on anyone else. You know that it’s by your own actions you’re able to get more in a mess or out of one. It’s your own actions that relieve or bind you. “ - George in a conversation with Mukunda Goswami at Bhaktivedanta Manor in 1982

Updated:

It may be fifteen years ago that George left us to garden in the eternal spiritual sky, but the enormity of his loss is still hard to comprehend. And yet, as I have been floundering to write something vaguely coherent about his massive contribution to this world, it is clear that he is still very much felt today in a million different ways:


It is every time you hear a stunning guitar solo, pitch-perfect harmonies or honest lyrics which make your heart physically hurt.

It is every time someone references the explosion of Indian and Hindu culture in the late ‘60s and the peaceful acceptance thereof, in the Western World.

It is every time someone mentions a Gretsch or a Rickenbacker 12-string with reverie.

It is every time you drive past Bhaktivedanta Manor, with its stunning gardens.

It is every time we see former World Champion Damon Hill being interviewed about motor sport.

It is every time you hear the unique note at the start of A Hard Day’s Night.

It is every time that the whole world, including remote tribes in the Amazon, can identify all the Beatles songs solely from their guitar solo within 5 seconds.

It is every time there is a TV quiz question about Hinduism and the clueless answer is always “Hare Krishna?”

It is every time you remember about the real people trapped in the middle of unwanted overwhelming fame.

It is every time you sit down and watch Monty Python’s Life of Brian during Christmas.

It is every time you see the Hare Krishnas and enjoy their Paneer Burger for £3.50 for lunch.

It is every time that you see a story about Indian street-children who had been helped off the streets and are now being educated, and have a safe future.

It is every time that you see a story about Guatemalan street-children who had been helped off the streets and are now being educated, and have a safe future.

It is every time you drive past the new cinema at Henley, knowing a cinema is only there at all after a good fight.

It is every time you hear the word ‘Bangladesh’ and realise that the country and most of its people were very close to never existing until a friend asked for help.

It is every time you hear Ravi Shankar’s name and everyone agrees he was a brilliant musician on the sitar. 

It is every time you hear a naughty chord.

It is every time you think of insanely talented people who were battered around and succeeded anyway.

It is every time someone mentions the word ‘Supergroup’ and the ‘Traveling Wilburys’ are the next words.

It is every time you see  ॐ and know what it represents.

It is every time you visit the Sefton Park Palm House in Liverpool.

It is every time you see certain artists being interviewed, happy and healthy, and know that they are only still here because they received gentle help and love when they needed it.

It is every time you hear the awesome slide guitar on that Belinda Carlisle song.

It is every you see photos of Fiji, and think of a small village there which has the best musical instruments ever.

It is every time you think of beautiful souls who have struggled with defeat, pain, loneliness and heart-break but found their way out of the depths to become more strong, more compassionate, more gentle and more loving.


Om Shanti Om, George. You are still with us every day and you are very much loved. Happy Astral Birthday. 

Appreciating George Harrison's kindness

Yes, George Harrison was flawed and complex. No, he was not perfect. And yes, he was a truly kind-hearted person. This is simply a post to appreciate, with a few examples, George’s kindness:

  • As a teenager, he visited Quarryman Len Garry, though they barely knew each other, in the hospital: “…I really appreciated the visit because he seemed so understanding and caring.” (From John, Paul & Me).
  • He was, according to When They Were Boys, the most concerned about how Stu’s untimely death would affect John, and also felt terrible for Astrid.
  • Pat Delaney, Cavern doorman, related the story of how two girls didn’t have enough money to get in to the Cavern to see The Beatles, and George gave Delaney the money to give to the girls but asked him not to tell them where it came from (full quote here).
  • He went down to the Pier Head and bought twenty-five steak and kidney pies for fans who would be waiting out all night for the Cavern show the following day in February 1962 (full quote here).
  • Signed an autograph for a dying fan and, undoubtedly knowing time was running short, forged the others’ signatures for the fan (the story).
  • Like all of The Beatles, he replied to as much fan mail as possible, even during the rare hours they had off and were at home with their families, up until the mass of mail became too much by the end of 1963.
  • Bought Mal Evans a new gold watch as soon as he heard that Mal’s old one had been damaged during The Beatles’ 10 July 1964 return home to Liverpool (The Beatles Book, Sept. 1964).
  • He also gave many friends guitars, ukuleles and whatnot as presents, e.g. a guitar for Mary Hopkin (x).
  • George purchased Bhaktivedanta Manor for the Krishnas.
  • Aside from being there to comfort friends (such as the story Klaus Voormann relates in Living in the Material World), he was obviously very generous with family and friends, especially if Astrid’s comment - also in the documentary - about how George always helped her “with money and things” is anything to go by.
  • Famously, he mortgaged Friar Park to finance Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
  • Also famously, he was the first to organize a large-scale, all-star charity concert with the Concert for Bangladesh, all with the egoless intention of helping those in need.
  • The Material World Foundation and the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF still help charities even after his passing.
  • He helped Klaus Voormann’s wife with her work for Native Americans (here’s the relevant part of the book).
  • As so many have said, he went out of his way to be helpful and was always extremely grateful to anyone who had in some way been helpful to him.
  • George protected Pattie by saying that he was the one who was unable to have children (as Al Aronowitz recalled).
  • He suggested Decca’s Dick Rowe sign The Rolling Stones, thus securing them a record contract.
  • More often than not, he was genuinely sweet to any fans that showed up at Kinfauns and/or Friar Park, talking to them and letting them take pictures and never quite understood why fans thought of him as special… and then, there are little stories like this instant of George undoubtedly making one young fan’s day (from 1976).
  • George was the one Beatle who sent Mal Evans’ family a check (for over £5,000, according to When They Were Boys) after Mal’s tragic death.
  • There are countless fan stories and fan encounters that are known, showing more of George’s kindness.
  • In 2000/2001, while he was terminally ill himself, he sent a note to a fan who had cancer as well (the full story and note are here).
  • Even when he was obviously seriously ill, as Olivia and Ray Cooper have for instance related, he was more concerned about everyone else and comforting them, trying to make them feel better.

This appreciation list could go on and on, but again, this is merely an appreciation of George… who had a genuinely kind heart, was an extraordinary individual, and was, for lack of a better description, imperfectly perfect.

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The Bhaktivedanta Manor is where I spent my first week back in the UK. The first few days were tough as I was seriously jet lagged however this did not distract me from the beauty of the place <3 I had such an amazing time here and met some great people.

I’m so thankful to have found the Hare Krisna community in Melbourne last year as it has opened my soul to all of these amazing new experiences and amplified my view on the world.

I move forward with a full heart! Yes my mind plays the card of doubt and anxiety sometimes but a wise person once said “controlling the mind is like trying to control the wind” and when I look back at my life so far through all the pain and pleasure, I see how perfectly everything has worked out to get me to where I am right now.

Every day, every minute, every second we make a choice. Start the day with gratitude! Don’t wait for something to make you happy, only you can make you happy! See the good in every living thing.

As The Beatles said “Life goes on within you and without you” so love lovE LOVE. Elevate yourself to the next level ;-)

Hare Krisna <3